I have recently bought at auction an expensive(!) and very large collection of very early postcards numbering around 3000, many pre 1900 with the earliest around 1890. This was an age when pictorial postcards were still developing and it was also, as the decade progressed, when some of the most beautiful chromo-lithographed cards were produced.
Of the thousands of cards, the majority are from and representing places in Germany, with Germany probably being the main producer of postcards up to World War 1. One subject field in this lot are ‘Gruss Aus’, literally ‘Greetings From’, and I have 1-2000 of these from Germany as well as Russia, Romania, Turkey, Palestine, Portugal and even the North Pole (Nord Pol). They are generally brightly coloured with multiple views and very attractive cards, although when used the sender had to try to squeeze the message around the pictures (for the uninitiated, pre 1902 only the address was allowed on the back of these cards, known as ‘undivided back cards’). These Gruss Aus were also used to send greetings back from a Naval ship, or an Army barracks as well as from holiday destinations. I guess similar to our ‘Wish You Were Here’ greeting?
These are not the cheapest cards to start collecting, with many over £10 or £20 each, but they offer a glimpse into an often much grander and more glamorous world as many have images of grand hotels and restaurants or large exhibitions.
Also in the large lot were around one thousand early 1890/1900s artist-signed cards, including some beautiful mini works of art from artists such as Cassiers, Zeno Diemer, Kley, Mutter, Wielandt, Rossi amongst others. These are arguably just as attractive as the Gruss Aus but generally more affordable at often under £5 each. I will be showing some of these in another blog to give a flavour of just how attractive a collection of these could be.